A new report produced by an independent scien- tific review panel and available through the In- ternational Whaling Commission has identified the trigger of the 2008 mass stranding of melon- headed whales in Madagascar. By systematically eliminating other possible causes, the panel con- cluded that underwater sonar mapping— specifically a multi-beam echosounder system— conducted by a survey vessel contracted by Exx- onMobil Exploration and Production Limited trig- gered the event.
Much of the data used in the re- port were collected and produced by an interna- tional stranding response team organized by WCS scientists, veterinary staff and key partners. The team helped to return alive whales from the la- goon system to the open sea, and to conduct necropsies on dead whales to determine the cause of death. The report itself is a watershed event that establishes a link between a widely used form of sonar and a marine mammal mass stranding event. Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health- science/panel-links-underwater-mapping-sonar-to- whale-stranding-for-first-time/2013/10/06/52510204-